The Colonials needed help on the offensive end from their six-man tandem of freshman forwards Saturday night, but the rookies offered little production and shot a combined four-for-19 from the field. With four upperclassmen in the starting lineup and six players weighing in at over 200 pounds, Dayton took advantage of experience and strength in the frontcourt to limit GW’s youngsters.
Dayton’s top four forwards accounted for 49 of their 71 points and 29 of their 42 rebounds in the game, two less than GW’s 32 total team rebounds.
The Colonials were unable to get into a rhythm in the low post as freshman Omar Williams was hampered by a back injury and classmate Pops Mensah-Bonsu got into foul trouble early.
Dayton forward Nate Green led the Flyers’ big men in scoring with 15, while Keith Waleskowski added a double double.
“We were getting the ball inside, we were getting to the free throw line and if we did that all night long I felt like we controlled the game,” Dayton head coach Oliver Purnell said. “So when those things were occurring, we were playing our way.”
Freshman Mike Hall only managed two points on 1-for-7 shooting and four rebounds in his seven minutes of play.
“He’s been our most consistent guy in the sense that you can pretty much put it down, he’s going to get eight to 10 rebounds and he’s going to get eight to 12 points,” Colonials head coach Karl Hobbs said of Hall. “He’s been the most consistent, and tonight he just struggled a bit with the scoring.”
Limited to 17 minutes by early foul trouble, Mensah-Bonsu also struggled to contribute. The freshman tallied just four points and one rebound before fouling out with just over five minutes remaining.
“(Pops’ performance) had more to do with foul trouble and he couldn’t really get into the flow of the game,” Hobbs said. “He never really got a chance to fully get into the flow of the game and he only played 17 minutes. Here’s a guy that normally plays 25 or 30 so I thought that hurt him.”
But where there was a negative for GW, there was also a positive. Williams’ minor injury allowed Hobbs to start sophomore forward Tamal Forchion, who is recovering from an off-season ankle injury, for the first time this season.
“Omar was hurt and it kind of forced me to put (Forchion) in that situation,” Hobbs said. “And I thought he responded beautifully in terms of his effort and in terms of battling those big guys every possession.”
Forchion, the only non-freshman in the GW frontcourt, had tallied season highs of just 11 minutes and three rebounds before his nine-rebound performance in 25 minutes Saturday.
“Whenever I looked out on the floor he always seemed to be in great defensive position,” Hobbs said. “So that was a positive.”